February 29th, 2024

seward county logoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


Two routine items made up much of the agenda at last week’s regular Seward County Commission meeting.

First up, Maintenance Director Greg Rice brought a service agreement from Central Power Services & Systems from Garden City for the annual maintenance of the county’s 11 generators.

The approved agreement is for $10,250, and Commission Chair Scott Carr said Rice will still see over the maintenance of the generators.

“He will still do some maintenance on the generators on a quarterly basis,” Carr said. “He’ll put the load test on the generators and pull the building. This is more mechanically, the engine side mostly.”

Next up was Information Technology Director Clayton Hoover with a proposal to upgrade the county’s e-mail system.

“The current system we’ve had since 2012 is an IMAP Solution,” he said. “It’s very limited in mailbox size and scalability. There’s not much you can do with it. It only has a 10-gigabyte mailbox size per user, and we’ve had several people exceed that limit and their e-mails start bouncing. They don’t get their e-mails. We’ve had some issues in that department.”

Hoover said some of those issues were cleared up, with e-mails archived to free up space, but he has been looking at upgrading the system for about two years.

“It always got put to the backburner for other projects, but with the implementation of Pub Works, I think it’s time we seriously look at this upgrade,” he said. “The hosted online exchange plan we have quoted from Otava. We actually use Otava now with our hosted IMAP Solution, and we’d been working with Chad Holcomb, the Cloud consultant for Otava, for several months trying to work up a good draft on what we need for the county, what’s best for the county.”

During the discussions with Holcomb, Hoover said several drafts were brought up, but he brought one to the commission he believed would be a good start.

“It has our 260 original e-mail boxes, but it also increases up to 280 with some options we have in there,” he said. “That 280 is the number I think we need to be at right now for mailbox size for the county since we need to add some more for the Pub Works part of things. That will increase the mailbox size up to 50 gigabytes, so it’s five times the mailbox size.”

Hoover said the new system would likewise provide calendars and contacts across all devices, something not available with the previous system.

“That’ll be a big benefit,” he said. “We also have on the quote, the first option for 30 that’s listed there basically comes up to $2 a mailbox extra for encryption services. There’s several departments that could utilize that – the health department and maybe the sheriff’s office. It’s highly scalable, so we can add and remove through the management panel on what they can use or what they need.”

Hoover said the $2 mailbox charge the county was paying provided very basic services.

“That’s why we’ve been paying a small amount per mailbox per month for 11 years, going on 12,” he said. “The hosted exchange will go up to basically $4.62 per mailbox. It’s a little more than double what we’re paying now, but we’re getting quite a bit more for our money. I had been looking at this for a couple years, but I hadn’t really put it in the budget.”

Money paid for the upgrade comes from the IT department’s Reserve for Claims – Special Project Fund for 2024. Hoover said future payments can be paid directly from the county technology fund starting in Fiscal Year 2025.

“The migration costs are waived since we’re staying with Otava, and that can be fairly pricey,” he said. 

Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the recommended quote from Otava to migrate the county’s e-mail system from IMAP with the money to come from Reserve for Claims – Special Projects Fund.